8:00pm: The Hawks have officially announced the deal in a press release.
7:07pm: Hawks small forward De’Andre Hunter is signing a four-season rookie scale contract extension worth up to $95MM to remain in Atlanta, agents Thad Foucher and Joe Smith inform Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reports (Twitter link) that $90MM of the deal is guaranteed, while the remaining $5MM on the contract represents unlikely bonus incentives. Scotto adds that there are no player or team options baked into the agreement.
Bobby Marks of ESPN adds (via Twitter) that the fourth-year swingman’s contract extension will pay him $20.1MM starting in the 2023/24 season, with annual salary increases from there. Marks adds that $1.25MM in unlikely incentives could be paid out across each of the four years.
Hunter, the No. 4 pick out of Virginia in 2019, has spent his entire pro career with Atlanta. On draft night in 2019, the Hawks acquired Hunter’s draft rights from the Pelicans, who in turn had received his rights as part of the Lakers’ blockbuster summer deal for All-Star big man Anthony Davis.
When healthy, the 6’8″ wing has exhibited plenty of promise as an intimidating two-way force. However, Hunter has been hampered by injuries through the past two NBA seasons, having missed a combined 78 regular season contests from 2020-22.
Across 53 games during the 2021/22 season, the 24-year-old averaged 13.4 PPG on .442/.379/.765 shooting splits. He also chipped in 3.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, and 0.7 SPG. A strong defender capable of effectively pestering shooting guards through power forwards, Hunter operates as an excellent complement to star scorer Trae Young. With Atlanta having shored up its backcourt defense by trading for 2022 All-Star guard Dejounte Murray, Hunter may not be extended quite as much defensively this year.
Earlier this offseason, Hoops Rumors scribe Rory Maher predicted that Hunter could fetch a long-term deal in the range of $60-$80MM. The $60MM is what Rory projected the Hawks would have been willing to offer, while the higher end of the bargain represents what Rory considered to be the rate Hunter and his representatives may have wanted. Instead, the Hawks are making an even more aggressive commitment.
The robust $95MM total value of the deal represents a significant investment in the injury-prone wing, with the Hawks clearly gambling that he will be able to string together healthier seasons and continue to grow on offense in the seasons to come.
With Hunter agreeing to an extension, that brings the tally of rookie scale extension deals to 11 this year, tying a record that was set in 2021, tweets Marc Stein. The 2019 draft’s top five picks all signed lucrative extension deals. No. 13 pick Tyler Herro of the Heat, is the only other ’19 lottery pick to agree to a rookie scale extension.